The NFC North clash between the Vikings and Lions features this weekend, all while both look to remain relevant in the hunt for a playoff spot. Here’s a preview complete with NFL picks.
Minnesota Vikings (3-2, 0-2 away)
The Minnesota Vikings are looking to improve to 4-2 SU when they take on the Detroit Lions and close the gap on the 6-0 Green Bay Packers, who are enjoying a week off proceedings. In order to do so, however, the Vikings must transcend their poor road form on the season, which stands bleakly at 0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS with a 10-point losing margin on average.
Road woes haven’t been exclusive to this season alone. Second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater enjoyed ONE whopping solitary win on the road last season when he lifted the Vikings to a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime in week 8. The ensuing road games saw the Vikings slip to defeat each and every time. That’s a run of five straight losses on the road to close out 2014 and that split forth into the new season with losses to the Niners and Broncos. Overall, therefore, Bridgewater is a disappointing 1-8 SU in nine consecutive road starts in his career. Hardly encouraging is it?
Last week, the Vikings, coming off a week 5 bye, defeated the punch~less Kansas City Chiefs 16-10, all while coming through as the considerable home chalk (anywhere from 3-to-4-points at closing doors). It was a performance that left most NFL bettors unimpressed. Teddy Bridgewater had a so-so performance with 17-of-31 passes for 249 yards, 1 touchdown and two interceptions. Defense was key to the victory, bailing the Vikings following Bridgewater’s patchy play at times.
After all this – the road woes and less than convincing performance in week 6 by the Vikings– of course it makes perfect sense the Vikings would go into week 7 NFL betting as the road chalk. (That’s sarcasm, by the way). Granted the Detroit Lions are struggling in a big way this season and the Vikings are only short road faves. Still the fact that they are road faves against anybody is somewhat surprising. Surely, not until they can actually win behind Teddy Bridgewater on the road with some measure of consistency then such a market nod is warranted.
It’s worth noting that there seems to be no agreement on the exact line – the range goes from 1-to 3.5-points, which is a considerable difference in the context of NFL betting. Some sportsbooks sagely go with an EVEN line – albeit the Vikings remain the faves and the Lions the nominal underdogs.
Detroit Lions (1-5, 1-2 home)
The Detroit Lions are finally in the win column, but with a 1-5 SU record they are in the NFC North basement with an uphill battle if they are to replicate their second place finish of last season behind an 11-5 SU record and clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Only the most hallucinatory fan would predict the Lions reel off a 10-game winning streak to close out the season. It’s highly unlikely with a tough schedule ahead. That said they’ll be looking to build on their overtime win in week 6, in which they beat the Chicago Bears 37-34, using almost the entire 15-minutes of the added quarter. It’s going to be imperative that they back it up, if only to prove last week wasn’t a one off.
One could say that’s exactly the sentiment in the markets: odds makers and NFL bettors were left largely unimpressed by the victory, more so than the ugly win by the Vikings over the Chiefs. Why else would the Lions be installed as home underdogs to the winless-on-the-road Vikings?
NFL Betting Verdict
Frankly, we’re surprised the Vikings are the road favorites. What’s more, we’re surprised that their NFL odds continue to swell higher on the NFL odds board –after opening at the 2-to-2.5-point mark, most sportsbooks are reporting 2.5-to-3.0-point lines – but we’re not going to stress the small stuff. For our money, we’re liking the Lions and as the line continues to move against them we like them more and more. Take the Lions as the home puppies on your NFL picks.
NFL Picks: Lions at +110 to win outright and at +3 (-120) Bovada